Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Parable in First Person

Please be advised before reading: this is not a journal entry in which I am seeking praise or pity, but a parable.

I desired to show the love of Christ to the poor and needy - to preach the gospel to the poor and bind up the brokenhearted. So I set myself to this task with commitment and resolve. I began giving, serving, teaching, sharing, spending time, and appealing to others to do the same.

Because of the generosity of the Father in giving his Son, I wanted to give generously, so that the world would see his goodness. Because of the unconditional love of God, I wanted to love others unconditionally - especially those who had so little love in their lives. Because God had poured out so many blessings on my life, I wanted to bless others. Because Jesus came in the form of a servant, I wanted to serve others. So I gave, I loved, I blessed, I served.

And the goal was accomplished! And the people I gave things to thanked me. And the people I loved gave me affection in return. And many around me declared that I was a blessing to others. And many applauded my servant’s heart. And my goal was accomplished, and I felt satisfaction, and I praised God.


Again, I desired to share God’s love with the poor and needy - to live out the gospel among the last, the lost and the least. I began giving, serving, teaching, sharing, spending time, and appealing to others to do the same.

Because of the sacrifice the Father made in giving his Son, I wanted to give sacrificially so that the world would see his goodness. Because of the unconditional love of God, I wanted to love others with abandon - especially those who are hard to love. Because God had poured out so many blessings on my life, I wanted to be a blessing to others. Because Jesus poured himself out as a servant, I wanted to pour myself out in service to others. So I sacrificed, I loved, I was gracious, I served.

And the goal was accomplished! These characteristics of God, at the heart of his requirements for mankind, were displayed in my life. But the people I gave things to did not thank me. And the people I showed affection to were cold in return. And no one ever told me I was a blessing. And many toilsome months of service went by in obscurity, without praise or applause. And my goal was accomplished - the lost and needy were served in the name of Christ. But I felt no satisfaction, and I complained about ungrateful people, and I bitterly sought for a different place to serve.

3 comments:

Tyler said...

Dusting off your sandals or missing the point?

theone withabeard said...

Missing the point. The goal was accomplished, but the rhetorical "I" (used in honor of Romans 7) wanted more affirmation.

Brenda said...

this really strikes a chord with me. so often i feel we miss the point b/c we like the idea of doing something for God and then pat ourselves on the back, pleased as punch for how well we were able to serve, bless others, give sacrificially, etc.

not that it's always bad to feel good about doing those things. we should feel good. the question is why do we feel good though? is it because we like the affirmation or because we are actually serving God? can we serve without always expecting to be rewarded for it? might we be really motivated by self satisfaction that comes with telling ourselves how great we are because we were able to make joe schmo's life easier today by something we did?

none of us are so saint-like or perfect that we would not struggle with wanting some kind of acknowledgment for serving others or bitterness when it doesn't happen. i hope, though, that we would check our motives and strive to serve others despite the potential cost anyways, because at the end of the day, it's not about building ourselves up, but proclaiming Christ and serving HIM.